And they are doing so anonymously, and without limit.
Think Progress reminded us yesterday of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s big moment during the State of the Union address in January.
When President Obama warned in last January’s State of the Union address that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision “will open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our election[s],” right-wing Justice Samuel Alito infamously mouthed the words, “Not True.”
Earlier this week, our Citizen’s United update reported the money flowing from the Chamber, but what we did not know at that time was that foreign entities were contributing to the Chamber’s fund.
Thanks to the investigation conducted by Think Progress, we now know that to be the case.
A ThinkProgress investigation has found that the Chamber funds its political attack campaign out of its general account, which solicits foreign funding. And while the Chamber will likely assert it has internal controls, foreign money is fungible, permitting the Chamber to run its unprecedented attack campaign. According to legal experts consulted by ThinkProgress, the Chamber is likely skirting longstanding campaign finance law that bans the involvement of foreign corporations in American elections.
In recent years, the Chamber has become very aggressive with its fundraising, opening offices abroad and helping to found foreign chapters (known as Business Councils or “AmChams”). While many of these foreign operations include American businesses with interests overseas, the Chamber has also spearheaded an effort to raise money from foreign corporations, including ones controlled by foreign governments. These foreign members of the Chamber send money either directly to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or the foreign members fund their local Chamber, which in turn, transfers dues payments back to the Chamber’s H Street office in Washington DC. These funds are commingled to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6) account which is the vehicle for the attack ads:
And so, President Obama was right, and Alito has now been proven wrong.
Adding….this is just the first of many years to come that we will be fighting against the aftermath of the Citizen’s United ruling.